How to Read Betting Odds

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Understanding how betting odds work is one of the most important aspects to sports betting. Sports odds have as much of an impact on your bet wins as picking the right winner of various sporting events. It’s not just about picking the one team that is going to win when you’re placing bets, but understanding how to read odds so you’re maximizing your potential profit.

Many sportsbooks will display their betting odds in multiple ways for a given event. Even so, it’s important for sports bettors to have a solid understanding of the bet odds so you can know what you’re betting on and the potential winnings you could get.

In this guide, we give you a detailed betting odds explained guide so you can see everything there is to know about the betting line.

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Sports Betting Odds Explained

If you’re new to sports betting, or even if you’ve wagered on a sporting event in the past, you may need a full course on the different odds format that a sportsbook might list.

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Whether it’s for entertainment purposes or whether you’re looking to wager real money on bets on a presidential election, it’s imperative that you understand bet odds for every wager you want to make.

We’ll provide a full explanation of how sports odds work in this guide, including the different type of odds, what the odds represent and how to read odds so you can win the game.

What is Probability?

In general, probability is the likelihood that a particular outcome is going to happen. In sports betting, the betting odds are expressed as a number between 0 and 1.0 or 0% to 100%. The higher the number, the more likely it is to happen – or, in sports betting, the higher probability of winning that bet.

In some cases, implied probability is something that can be figured out easily. For example, calculating implied probability for a coin toss is simple – it’s 50%. That’s because there are only two potential outcomes, either heads or tails.

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Calculating implied probability for a roll of dice is simple, too, since there are six numbers on each die. The implied probabilities for each number, then is 16.66%, or 100% divided by 6.

But, implied probability in sports betting is a little more complicated. That being said, the probability of winning can be calculated somewhat by the odds posted on the site that accepts bets.

Use Betting Odds to Calculate Probability

Implied probability in sports betting is what odds are suggesting that the likelihood of a certain outcome may be. Calculating implied probability from the betting line odds is quite simple. Just take the the number 1 and divide it by the decimal odds for a bet.

So, for example, if the New York Giants are assigned odds of 2.50 in a game against the Dallas Cowboys, you will figure out that their implied probability equals 0.4, which equates to 40%. From this implied probability, you can then figure out what the odds represent in terms of the money that you can win on this game. That’s why it’s important to have the odds explained before you bet.






Use Betting Odds to Calculate Winnings

From the odds and implied probability, you can also calculate the potential winnings. Using the above example, if you wagered IRP 100 on the Giants at the odds of 2.50, you’d win IRP 250 if they won. It’s simple math to figure that out, as it’s just 100 x 2.50.

Now, we use the implied probability of your initial bet to determine the wins based on your wager amount of IRP 100. In this instance, if you bet IRP 100 at these odds with this implied probability, you’d win IRP 250 40% of the time. On the flip side, you’ll lose your original wager of IRP 100 on the New York Giants in this game 60% of the time.

Explanation of Decimals

Decimal odds are one of the easiest format of odds that you can have. Unlike American odds, which can be a little confusing and are based on a wager amount of IRP 100 at all times, decimal odds can be easily applied to whatever amount you bet on a game to figure out the total payout. All you have to do is take the total of your bet and multiply it by the decimal odds to get your total payout.

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For example, if you wager IRP 50 and the decimal odds, which is the number on the right of the point spread, is 1.25, then you just multiply 50 x 1.25. This gives you a total payout of IRP 62.50. If you win the game with your bet, you can simply use this calculation to figure out the total payout. Here is another example of decimal odds:

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Fractional Odds vs Decimal Odds

Fractional odds are used in the UK a lot, and they are related to decimal odds. Fractional odds, unlike American odds, will be displayed as a fraction. For example, fractional odds for an underdog might be listed as 5/2. This means that for every IRP 2 you bet, you will win IRP 5.

The number on the left of the fractional odds is your profit versus the amount that you bet on the event occurring. You can calculate decimal odds from fractional odds, but some people don’t like to have to deal with this.






Use Online Tools to Convert Betting Odds

Some sportsbooks will display American odds as the default, while others might use other formats. If you are looking to read moneyline odds or any other odds a certain way, there are tools that can convert betting odds for you. This will help you understand your totals bet, point spreads or moneyline odds the way you like to see them.

All of the sportsbooks that we present on our site will offer a tool to convert betting odds for you. This way, if you want to see American odds, you can. Or, if you prefer something other than American odds, you can get that, too. This will help you see the implied probability for the money line bets that you want to make so that you can win more money.

Read Value Bets the Right Way

One of the keys to betting, no matter whether you’re reading American odds or any other, is to be able to identify value bets in the right way. Through the different betting odds that are displayed, you can identify the implied probability. This is called betting the smart way.

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Sometimes, you might not have a great edge that you see on an underdog to win, for example, but the bets offer a great opportunity for a win based on the odds that are offered. This is how you can see the positive numbers and negative numbers that are available for betting odds.

How Online Sportsbooks Calculate Their Odds

Sportsbooks set their odds based on the likelihood that certain outcomes are going to happen. The underdog isn’t expected to win most of the time. As a result, they have positive odds that are listed in wagers such as the money line.

The favorites, meanwhile, will be expected to win more times than not, which is why they typically have negative odds. Sportsbooks will research all the angles in-depth so they don’t get taken advantage of when people bet on the games that they are offering on their site.






Moneyline Betting Explained

With the moneyline bet, you simply have to pick the outright winner of a game. The sportsbooks set the odds for this so that people who are betting on this get different payouts and odds for a win on each team. The betting underdog is listed with positive odds next to their name.

This means that you will be paid a multiple of your original wager. They might be listed at +120, which means that if you bet IRP 100 on them and they win, you’ll win IRP 120. Favorites, meanwhile, have negative odds. This could be -135, which would mean you’d need to bet IRP 135 on them to win IRP 100 for your bet.

Betting Against the Odds

It’s very important that when you bet on sports, you understand what the odds are. That way, you can see how much you’d win from a game if you’re correct, or how much you’d need to wager in order to win a certain amount from your bet. When you bet against the odds, or with the implied probability, you are playing the numbers.

This is a smart way to bet if you don’t know too much about the teams involved, or if you simply want to play the probability. It’s a great way to use the sportsbooks’ odds as a way to determine what to be, rather than any subjective approaches.






Betting Odds FAQs

We’ve provided a lot of information about betting odds above. However, you still may have some questions about how the odds work, which format is the best or how you can use it to when you bet on sports. That’s why we’ve provided the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about odds below.

This is great information to have as you play responsibly at a licensed online casino. Remember, if you think you have a gambling problem, you should seek out help and assistance through any of the various support groups or services available online or in-person.

What Format is Better? Decimal or Fractional Odds?

Which format of odds is the best is really a personal choice. Many people will like what they are used to seeing. In other words, if they started out betting by seeing fractional odds, then they’ll like them better, and vice versa. Many people prefer decimal odds, though, and for good reason.

They are extremely easy to calculate a payout, no matter what your original bet amount is. You simply multiple your bet amount by the decimal, and you get your payout. You don’t have to worry about a negative number or any other conversion.

How to Adapt to Decimal Odds?

If you prefer to use fractional odds but the site only lists them in decimal, you can use many free online tools to convert the odds into a different format. Some sportsbooks will simply allow you to convert the odds from fractional to decimal.

This, of course, is the easiest way to see the odds displayed how you like them. But, if your sportsbook doesn’t offer this, you can also use one of the many free online conversion tools that are available. This is a foolproof way of getting the odds displayed exactly how you like them so you can better understand them.

Why are decimal odds more common these days?

Decimal type of odds are more common because of how easy they are to read and calculate the payout. Most bettors want to know exactly how much they stand to win if their bet is successful. With so many more people betting today at so many different levels, the decimal format makes it very easy to calculate the payout quickly.

With American odds or fractional odds, you have to do some more math than with decimal, which are much more straightforward and simple.


Odds are one of the most important parts of sports betting. While you may spend a lot of your time researching the teams and the situations that present themselves for upcoming games you want to bet on, don’t forget that the odds have a huge impact on not only the outcome of the game, but how much you will win.

Also, if you’re not familiar with a game or a team, you can use the odds to figure out implied probability and make a choice for your bet from there.

Last Updated on 26/12/2022 ago by Devak Mukherjee

Devak Mukherjee

In this article I have presented the guide on how to read the betting odds. If you like online sports betting, join our recommended sites now and follow the guide here to increase your chances of winning with your bets.

Devak Mukherjee has a masters degree in statistics and economics. Over the last couple of years he has specialized in sports betting and passionately teaches punters how to improve their odds with proven betting strategies.

Devak Mukherjee